BBC Revises Guidelines

October 18, 2010 • Digital News, Ethics and Quality • by

With the publication of a new edition, the BBC’s editorial guidelines now include recommendations on the use of social media and user-generated content.

Replacing the previous 2005 edition, the new edition covers BBC Online content, which formerly fell under separate guidelines. A draft was – for the first time – available for public consultation, resulting in 1630 online responses and 15 written submissions from the public as well as responses from 11 industry and interest bodies.

According to the new version, “Every online space where user generated content is published must have a moderator who can remove illegal and inappropriate content and it should normally have a host to provide a visible and active presence. There must also be a named individual in the relevant division to take editorial responsibility for the content, ensuring that the space maintains appropriate overall standards of moderation and hosting.”

Additionally, the new edition stresses caution with the use of images from social media sites: “Don’t assume that pictures from the internet show what or who they purport to show – verify them to ensure due accuracy.” The importance of sensitivity in reportage is highlighted as well, as the remodeled guidelines state, “We have a responsibility to consider the impact our re-use of a picture to a much wider audience may have on those in the picture, their family or friends – particularly when they are grieving or distressed.”

For more on the BBC’s editorial upgrade, see


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